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Product Liability Archives | Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C.

Deadly workout supplement can’t be banned

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, April 19th, 2013

In 1994, the Food and Drug Administration was exempt from reviewing and approving dietary supplements. This industry has flourished as people try to get in shape, and use supplements to gain a slight increase in their ability to lose weight or gain muscle. One supplement in particular has caught the attention of the FDA, but the agency can do little except send out a warning.

The supplement the agency is worried about is Jack3d, with contains the ingredient 1,3 dimethylamylamine or DMAA. This ingredient has reportedly been linked to cases of increased anxiety, depression, vomiting, and even death. Since the product can’t be regulated by the FDA, there is little the agency can do to ban it. This product has grown in popularity among fitness enthusiasts, but many experts believe it isn’t worth the risks.

Because the government doesn’t regulate many industries, it is important that companies thoroughly test their products and help ensure that they are safe for consumers, or that consumers understand if there are safety risks involved with using a product.

If a person is injured because of a dangerous product in New York City, they might be wise to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help a person understand their rights and work to help them seek compensation to treat their injuries.

While this product is unlikely to be banned, it is illegal, according to a report citing the FDA. Even though it is illegal, it can still be found on shelves and be easily accessible to consumers.

Source: NBC News, “Deadly workout supplement? Jack3d outside FDA’s reach,” Janet Klein et al, April 11, 2013

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Airbag explosions could pose injury risk

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, April 12th, 2013

When people purchase a car, they now look at advanced safety features, often not even considering the quality of other features such as airbags, which are now in most vehicles on the road. However, these airbags provide drivers with great protection in certain accidents. When they function properly they might be lifesaving.

According to a report, a very popular brand of airbags has been recalled. The company that manufactured the airbags, Takata Corp., which is based in Japan, but supplies airbags to car manufacturers around the world, said that some of its airbags pose an explosion risk. Numerous reports from various car manufacturers suggest the propellant that expands the airbag might explode, sending shrapnel into the vehicle and possibly the occupants.

For that reason, approximately 3 million vehicles are being recalled that contain these airbags, and more recalls could come as the investigation into the dangerous product continues. The propellant in these airbags is supposed to be time released, but it can expand too quickly causing a canister in the airbag mechanism to explode. It appears that Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and GM vehicles might be affected by the recall and other companies are also looking into their cars and trucks.

An explosion like this would only be triggered if a person was in an accident that triggered the airbag. While it is reassuring that no reports have suggested the airbag explodes while driving normally, an accident is when people need these airbags to function properly. It is important that manufacturers are held accountable if their defective products cause injuries to people.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Huge recall for Honda, Toyota, more: Airbags can spray shrapnel,” Jerry Hirsch, April 11, 2013

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Soup: Not Always Good for You

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Students, office workers, and anyone who wants a quick bowl of noodle soup are vulnerable to burn injuries, says Dr. Warren Garner of the University of California’s County Hospital in Los that comes in Styrofoam cups.

Dr. Garner says that at least two or three patients each week come into the hospital’s burn unit because of this type of food product.

The design of the cups makes the likely to tip over. They are much smaller at the base, making them top heavy when filled with liquid. Small children, especially, are frequent victims because they can easily pull the cup over, often on top of them because they are reaching up to a table.

Dr. Garner says that there is no other product so closely linked with this type of injury.

A dozen calls to burn units revealed that this type of injury is not limited to Los Angeles. Eight out of the 12 called said that they treat two or three victims each week, with most of the injured being children.

And some noodle soups are more dangerous than others -the easier they are to tip, the more they are to cause injuries. Some brands of instant noodle soup come in short, wide containers that are much more difficult to tip over. This was demonstrated by a study conducted by Dr. David Greenhalgh at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Northern California. It turns out the Cup Noodles by Nissin are the most dangerous, with those manufactured by Nicecook the most difficult to turn over.

However, soup manufacturers are not inclined to redo their cup designs, even though it has been demonstrated convincingly that making the base of the cup wider and the top narrower would significantly reduce injuries.

Source: National Public Radio, “Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup“, by Maria Zapeda, Dec. 5, 2011.

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Third-party auditor failed to find listeria at farm

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

An audit conducted by a third-party auditor before the recent listeria outbreak failed to find listeria at Jenson Farms a few days before the farm shipped the listeria-contaminated cantaloupes around the country. The third-party auditor gave the farm a score of 96 on its safety. The auditor noted a few things the farm was doing that could potentially create unsafe conditions, but did not dock the farm’s score.

The nearly-perfect score from the third-party auditor right before listeria-contaminated cantaloupes from the farm sickened dozens and killed at least 25 people, had led food safety experts and others to question whether the food safety auditing industry itself needs to be regulated by the FDA. A recent article in The Denver Post discusses this issue thoroughly.

The FDA itself reviewed the farm in September and found numerous problems with the farm’s safety that could have led to the growth of bacteria. The FDA said that the farm did not pre-cool melons before storage, which is an industry standard. Putting the melons in storage right after gathering them from the field and washing them can lead to the growth of bacteria.

Another problem with the farm’s handling of the melons was that they stopped adding chlorine to the water used to wash the melons. Listeria can occur in soil and the chlorine is meant to kill bacteria on melons.

Source: The Denver Post, “Private audit at Jensen Farms before listeria outbreak failed to flag woes,” Michael Booth, Oct. 21, 2011

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One dead in New York from listeria outbreak in cantaloupe

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

At least 21 people have died from an outbreak of listeria traced to cantaloupes contaminated with the bacteria. More than 109 people have been sickened. The cases of illness and death have been reported in 24 states all across the U.S., including New York. One of the victims killed in the current food poisoning outbreak was a New Yorker.

The number of people who have died or been sickened by the contaminated fruit products may go up because it can take up to two months for a person to fall ill after they eat listeria. The typical length of time between eating the bacteria and becoming ill is one to three weeks. Officials also may not have yet received reports and confirmed deaths of people who died from eating the cantaloupe before the recall began.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that one woman has suffered a miscarriage as a result of listeriosis, or a listeria infection. The bacteria is most dangerous for older people and for people with weakened immune systems.

Women who are pregnant have weaker immune systems because the immune system naturally goes down so that the body does not reject and attack the developing fetus. Listeria eaten by a pregnant woman may cause flu-like symptoms for her, but it also may infect the fetus and can cause a serious illness that can result in a miscarriage, stillbirth or permanent disability.

Older people may experience nausea, fever, diarrhea and muscle aches. Symptoms can develop into confusion and incapacitation.

Any Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado should be thrown away. Any refrigerator surfaces that the cantaloupe touched should be washed with a bleach solution to kill the bacteria because it can continue to live in the cold temperature.

Source: CNN, “Death toll from tainted cantaloupes rises to 21,” Oct. 7, 2011

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Woman nearly dies from ingesting a dangerous product

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, September 23rd, 2011

A New York City woman thought she was taking medicine when she drank from a bottle labeled “The Cat Be Unemployed.” After ingesting the substance, she became seriously ill. What she thought was medication was actually highly concentrated rat poison, and it is a dangerous product that is illegal.

The poison is a blood thinner that kills rats by bleeding them to death. The product that the woman ingested contained significantly higher-than-legal levels of the poison. Unfortunately, this unsuspecting woman lost two-thirds of her blood after ingesting it.

She survived, but her near death experience with drinking the contents of the small bottle labeled “The Cat Be Unemployed” caused an inquiry into the dangerous product by federal and New York state investigators.

The investigation led to the arrest of ten Chinatown store owners for selling the illegal and very dangerous poison. More than 6,000 packages of illegal Chinese pesticides were confiscated as a result of the investigation.

Two factors made these products particularly dangerous:

1. High concentration of poison. Even a tiny amount accidentally ingested could kill an innocent victim. In fact, the amount of the deadly ingredient was 40 to 60 times the legal limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

2. Labels not in English. The products were especially dangerous because their labels were in Chinese and not in English. As a result, a doctor would not know what chemicals were ingested by a poison victim.

The store owners are now facing charges of reckless endangerment and selling illegal pesticides, and two are facing federal charges for wholesale distribution. One federal administrator described that “people and businesses who make and sell these products are playing Russian roulette with people’s health.”

New York City residents should be extremely cautious about purchasing illegal pesticides. Even though the products might be cheaper, consumers may place their health at serious risk. Consumers should beware of any product that is not clearly marked with the EPA sign of approval.

Source: New York Daily News, “Ten Chinatown store owners arrested for selling illegal pesticides after woman nearly dies,” Jennifer H. Cunningham, Sept. 19, 2011

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Decorative firepots give severe burns to victims

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, July 1st, 2011

There are some products we buy, that we assume come with inherent dangers. However, products that are designed to burn should be tested to ensure they can burn safely. However, because a company failed to do that, innocent victims in New York and across the country have suffered severe burns because of the dangerous products.

To date, two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims who were burned while using the decorative firepots. Named in the suits are the manufacturer of the firepots and a number of retailers that sell the pots.

The decorative ceramic firepots are intended to be used outdoors and are filled with a gel-like fuel that goes into a stainless steel cup in the center. Many of the victims were injured when they tried to light the fuel, which caused the entire pot to burst into flames. The fuel does not require a wick to burn.

Among the injured is a woman who sustained second and third degree burns on her legs. After the mishap, she underwent skin graft surgeries and other procedures to repair the damage done by the burning fuel. Prior to the burns, she ran was an avid runner and competed in numerous marathons. She now struggles to walk across her living room with a walker.

A second incident involved another woman who received third degree burns on more than 30 percent of her body. The woman is in intensive care at a local hospital. Her husband also received burns as he attempted to put out the fire.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission issued a warning about the gel fuel. An investigation concerning the firepots has been initiated by the commission.

Attorneys for the injured victims say their clients have suffered terrible pain and injury, and they seek to prevent others from being so injured in the future.

Source: The Post and Courier, “Lawsuits filed over firepots: West Ashley woman suffered severe burns,” Glenn Smith, 22 June 2011

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Johnson & Johnson recalls more dangerous drugs

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Johnson & Johnson has had numerous problems lately. In the past year, the company has recalled several dangerous drugs. Their recall of Children’s Tylenol and 40 other products last April became the largest recall of children’s medicine ever. Now, individuals throughout New York need to watch check their medicine cabinets again.

Johnson & Johnson recently announced a voluntary recall of Tylenol 8 Hour Extended Release Caplets. There have been no serious sicknesses associated with the drug, but several individuals complained of a strange, musty odor. In total, the recall affected approximately 34,000 bottles.

Johnson & Johnson does not have a definitive answer as to what caused the musty smell in the bottles, but they have a few guesses. They think the odor is from residue of the chemicals tribromoanisole (TBA) and trichloroanisole (TCA). The TBA can be traced to the wood pallets that are used to transport and store packing materials used in the bottles.

The caplets that were recalled most recently were manufactured at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare plant. Since then, that facility was voluntarily closed by the company.

According to the ABC News senior medical editor, the health problems people have experienced because of the recalled products have not been serious. For the most part, individuals had complaints of diarrhea and vomiting.

Although diarrhea and vomiting are less serious than some of the other health problems individuals face, they are still uncomfortable for the individuals suffering. Johnson & Johnson recalling dangerous drugs is a good first step. Now, hopefully, they will finally find a solution that enables them to stop manufacturing dangerous drugs.

Source: ABC News, “Johnson & Johnson Recalls Yet More Tylenol,” Katie Moisse and Kim Carollo, 30 March 2011

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Toyota recalls another 2.17 million vehicles

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, February 25th, 2011

After much pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Toyota has announced the recall of another 2.17 million vehicles, bringing the total number of recalls up to more than 13 million in the U.S. alone since September of 2009.

This auto defect recall – which echoes the same as previous complaints of stuck pedals and sudden acceleration – comes just two weeks after a NASA study concluded that there were no problems with sudden acceleration.

This newest recall of 2.17 million affects Toyota models going back to as far as 2003. As part of the recall, Toyota has laid out extensive plans to replace the carpet on some models that is believed to be causing the accelerator to stick, and in some models will actually be replacing a plastic pad that is inside of the carpet that is believed to be getting caught on the accelerator. However, in some models – like the 4Runner, RAV4 and Lexus LX, Toyota is still in the process of developing some kind of fix to the acceleration problem.

Even before this most recent recall, Toyota was already facing hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, as well as suits related to economic damages. With this latest round of recalls it’s imagined that even more lawsuits will start to be filed.

One of those lawsuits is from a woman who was in a crash that caused spinal and brain injuries. At the time of the crash the woman claimed that while in reverse, her 2005 Highlander started to accelerate on its own. However, at the time of the crash her make and model was not included in any recalls. But, this newest recall does include that model, and she plans on suing.

And while Toyota has come just short of claiming that this newest recall will be the last of customer complaints, others – like the head of the Center for Auto Safety – aren’t so sure and suspect that there might actually be other problems with the vehicles that aren’t related to the gas pedals and floor mats, which if true could result in even more recalls and even more lawsuits for Toyota.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Toyota to recall 2.17 million more vehicles,” Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, 25 Feb 2011

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Toyota Settles Case That Led to Recalls and Hundreds of Lawsuits

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Automaker Toyota has been in the news probably more than it would like over the last year and half. Numerous reported car accidents and alleged safety problems have tarnished the company’s image and hurt their vehicle sales. Now, some of the fallout from all of those alleged product defects and safety problems is making the news.

Recently, Toyota settled one of the first personal injury lawsuits that had been brought in connection to the much-discussed floor mat and sudden acceleration problems. The crash that become the subject of the lawsuit occurred in August of 2009 and resulted in the death of four individuals on a suburban San Diego highway.

According to reports, the victims were in a Lexus that had been lent for a dealership when the accident occurred. The driver, who was also a California highway patrol officer, reached speeds in excess of 120 mph before striking another vehicle, hitting an embankment, and rolling the car before it burst into flames.

Investigation of the accident led to the conclusion that the vehicle had the wrong size floor mat, which in turn, trapped the acceleration pedal and caused the accident. Toyota eventually recalled the floor mats and later conducted another recall related to acceleration pedals that could get stuck on their own.

Toyota is facing the prospect of hundreds of other suits relating to alleged product liability or safety failures. The company reportedly attempted to keep this latest settlement confidential, but media outlet argued that the public interest necessitated the release of the information.

If you have been injured in a car accident, or because of some other type of product defect, you should speak to an attorney about your chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries. These types of lawsuits are important not just to make sure victims are compensated, but also to make sure that manufacturers and other businesses take measures to ensure their products are safe for us all.

Source: The New York Times, Toyota to Pay $10 Million in Crash Suit, The Associated Press, 12/24/10

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